Chantel L. Alberhasky practices special education law, where she is often the last best chance for children with special needs to get the education to which they are entitled.
What are some of your proudest career accomplishments? One of my proudest career accomplishments is when I took on the state of Utah to obtain appropriate services for a young deaf-blind girl who had been languishing in their educational system for years. She is a modern-day Helen Keller but through my efforts she will now has an opportunity to learn how to communicate and become a member of society. I am also very proud of a case I had in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where I obtained a favorable decision for a client. There are few decisions in the 8th Circuit that are favorable for families in the area of special education law, but the favorable decision I obtained makes it easier for children with emotional disturbances to get special education services.
What inspired you to get involved in the justice system? In undergrad, I had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Alice Bartee, a professor of political science at Missouri State University. Dr. Bartee’s enthusiasm for the law was infectious. Dr. Bartee encouraged me to apply to law school and it is because of her that I am a lawyer today.
What has been your favorite part of the job? I lecture on the topic of special education throughout the country. My lectures are geared toward families and advocates of children with disabilities. So many families are overwhelmed with the IEP process and it is fulfilling to give them the tools and knowledge they need to become effective advocates for their children.
What is something that would surprise people about you? I am avid runner so I know exactly how far a mile is from my house in any direction. Something else many people do not know is that I have dual citizenship. I am a British citizen as well as an American citizen.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given or received? The best advice I ever received came from my mother. She told me to always enter a room with confidence no matter how I was feeling or how I was dressed. It is advice that has served me well both professionally and personally.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be? When I was a young child I wanted to be a shoe cobbler like my parents and work in their shoe repair shop. As I got older I wanted to be a writer.